Passing

The strangest thing
I’ve seen all week
is my reflection
in passing.

After pretending
I should know
the rules they have set,

after keeping worlds
trapped in my throat
underneath paper bag skin,

I see myself

smiling, like nothing
could be more natural

than bared teeth hidden
behind well rouged lips,

like it’s nothing.


This poem was inspired by the prompt given over at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads: Word Count With Mama Zen 

56 comments:

  1. Zowie! those teeth behind the rouged lips. The strength underneath the smile.

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    1. The has to be a lot of strength to put up with it all.

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  2. Oh, I really like this, Rommy!

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  3. bare teeth is quite a shock. just as aging is

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    1. Perhaps, though that isn't what was intended in this piece.

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  4. "I said, this can't be me, must be my double." --Leonard Cohen

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    1. I think many people might share similar frustrations, but for tangentially different reasons.

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  5. That is a strange thing, I must say...

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  6. Oh! And what she does not say...

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    1. A lot. Because she has learned it is futile in some situations.

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  7. Well seems it wasn't just me looking in the mirror. I love this description of the mask that kills us inside. Bare your teeth.

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    1. Yes, a mask worn of necessity, even as we wonder why is it still necessary.

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  8. You captured such a moment of surprise that brought out internal pondering. This said so much in a short time. Powerful!

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    1. To see a placid smile when you feel the need to bear your teeth can make you wonder why you do that.

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  9. Whistles!!❤️💝 This is absolutely splendid writing, Rommy! I love the strength that adorns these lines; "I see myself smiling, like nothing could be more natural, than bared teeth hidden behind well rouged lips, like it’s nothing." Beautifully penned. Thank you so much for participating at Prompt Nights and for your constant love and support❤️💝


    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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  10. You capture a dichotomy here - it is the smile that makes us human but it is a dangerous practice in the animal kingdom to bare teeth.

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    1. Very, very much. I'm glad you caught that.

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  11. Some days, some times in life, all we can do is bare our teeth and (at least for a bit) smile like life is happening like it's supposed to. The alternative might leave a lot of people screaming... including us, methinks.

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    1. Too much screaming gets distracting after a while as well.

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  12. Love this, Rommy! I'm glad some people smile at themselves in the mirror - I tend to avoid my reflection, if possible. The words I identify with are:

    '...keeping worlds
    trapped in my throat
    underneath paper bag skin'!

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    1. It wasn't so much that she was smiling in the mirror as she caught a glimpse of a not so natural smile, while passing.

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  13. 'Twere a figure of imagination?
    No for real, I swear, been there too.
    ..

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  14. Sometimes that smile without a reason comes as a surprise... maybe it was someone else.

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  15. We should never be surprised to find out we are more than one person. Sometimes I am so disappointed in me I seem to do a mental somersault to get rid of the bore I have become. Good to hear you came good and bared your teeth and reverted to you real self.

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    1. There is a certain level of disappointment in the outside world with this too

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  16. sometimes it's good & wise to keep 'bared teeth hidden / behind well rouged lips,'

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    1. Exactly. Because there are consequences for doing otherwise.

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  17. Words not said, held silent by clenched teeth, masked by rouged lips. Evocative words. Great read.

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    1. Yes, and there are many words that perhaps do need saying at some point.

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  18. luv the rouged lips, let vanity never die

    much love....

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    1. This isn't so much about vanity, but I guess I can see that angle

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  19. Ah - smiling like nothing could be more natural --- those bared teeth frighten me a slight bit.

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    1. And their intensity may frighten the protagonist as well.

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  20. "than bared teeth hidden
    behind well rouged lips,"
    Excellent! Love this Rommy!

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  21. My grandma used to say that it would sometimes startle her when she saw her reflection in passing, causing her to wonder who that strange woman was in the house with her! This reminded me of that. Thank you.

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    1. I guess I can see that angle to it as well.

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  22. For me, this is a brilliant articulation of the innate human woman grappling with the public face we paint over that realism. I think this piece is fantastic - powerfully rendered - and a very, very important feminist literary work.

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    1. Feminist - and intersectionally so. That was the intention.

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  23. Like this.. especially the paper bag skin and rouged lips...

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  24. You brought the whole meaningful moment vividly to life.

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  25. Great piece, Rommy!!Well...sometimes it's better to keep those fearsome incisors hidden behind a pair of lips.Smiles.

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  26. The shock of a sudden glimpse of ones self can be quite unnerving lol XXX

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  27. You had to mention paperbag skin...lol!

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    1. Well, yes. It was a metaphor for color I had heard when I was young.

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